Fashion differs from country to country: time and geography play a major role

Coming from Italy’s capital of fashion to America, there are many differences in fashion formalities of everyday clothing


Blake Klein, Mason Thompson, & Kevin Allen

Milan is known as the “fashion capital of the world” because Vogue Italia was headquartered there in 1961 and popular fashion houses like Giorgio Armani and Versace originated there.

Fashion has changed notably over the last century. Generally, it has shifted from formal to casual styles. For example, in the 1920s women almost never wore pants — they used to wear only dresses, often elegant ones, and it was also common to see women wearing cloche hats. The use of makeup increased a lot during this time — women wore a lot of mascara and lipstick because dark lashes and rosy lips were popular. 

On the other hand, if we consider the fashion that was present in the 1970s, we can see how much changed. People began to wear more casual clothes like mini skirts or pants. They began to wear jumpsuits, tank tops, and platform shoes. But after the year 2000, fashion became similar to trends we see today, more or less. The most common outfits nowadays include jeans and sweatpants, normal t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Something I discovered from looking at people from different parts of the world is that fashion varies, even after many years of being somewhat standardized. I come from a city known as “Italia’s capital of fashion” (Milan), and being in the U.S. made me realize how fashion norms are different. For example, in Milan, you would never see someone wearing sweatpants to go to work, especially if they work as an employee.

In the schools in Italy, we have a good deal of dress codes, and with these codes, girls cannot wear shorts that are above the knee or shirts with straps; and students can’t wear pajamas to school. In my opinion, I think having a dress code is good when it is not excessive.

School dress codes are not the only way that fashion is different in every country.

Walking around the streets in Italy, it is common to see people in elegant attire. People are used to dressing up when they go to work. They wear elegant pantsuits and dresses, especially if they work as an employee or in an office. 

One of the things that shocked me the most in the U.S. is that the people wear Crocs or flip flops in public. In Italy, it’s strange to see someone go outside wearing slippers.

In Italy, the most polished people are adults with jobs that require them to wear something like black pants and a white shirt or provided work uniforms. Although uniforms are more common for people that work for the military, police or maybe in bars and fast food, elegant clothes are for employees and office staff.

In other parts of the world, fashion is still different. Fashion in India is known for its use of long dresses with elaborate designs. Meanwhile in Africa, people wear a lot of loose skirts and tops.

Fashion differs a lot, both throughout historical periods and the places where one lives. In modern times there are many differences in the way people dress. Interpretations of casual and formal depends on the country.